Getting Ready

Outside
in the schoolyard
I hear the bell
that ends
the half-hour lunch
but westward
winds seem to
shape the stones
in bright sunlight.

Two sparrows
flip a yogurt lid
back and forth
while, above,
a shiny black crow
mocks them with a
grating voice.
He raises and lowers
his head,
twitching his eyes
first left, then right.

For a moment
I stop to be with them,
dropping myself
on the bench,
sharing in their
coincidental world
of give and take

while inside
by now
my students
are alone
without me.

They are surely
fidgeting with their pencils,
looking at the clock,
feeling like
endless toilers
without a plan,
without a purpose
without me.

But I am still busy
outside
getting ready.

Don Cadwallader

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